Latex is a natural material that can be used to make a variety of garments including dresses, skirts, tops, gloves and hoods. Latex clothing is colourful, sleek and fits the body like a second skin. Measuring, cutting and bonding latex can be challenging, but if the correct materials and techniques are used, the finished garment can be worn repeatedly.
When making your own latex clothing, correct measurements are critical. In order for the garment to fit properly, it must essentially be a second skin. Get proper measurements using a measuring tape. Have someone else measure for you, as twisting and flexing to get your own measurements could result in error. Take measurements while wearing snug-fitting clothing only.
Commercial patterns do not consider latex as a potential material for their garments. As a result, patterns must be adapted to use latex. Take a pattern drafting course or study pattern drawing in order to create or alter patterns that will result in the best-fitting garments. Look for versatile patterns whose elements can be combined to create a single, interesting outfit.
Latex is an expensive material, so be sure to use it as efficiently as possible. Purchase sharp, full-size tailoring shears. Do not attempt to use hand wheel or rotary cutters, as they will cause the latex to bunch. Electric wheel cutters and electric scissors work, once you are familiar with using them on latex. Get a pair of small, sharp trimming scissors also, for cutting small holes and slitting buttons.
Latex is not sewn; it is bonded using solvent-based adhesives. There are two types of latex bonds: good bonds and best bonds. Good bonds are used for low-stress areas such as hems. Best bonds are used for high-stress areas like the crotch and armpits and for applying accessories like pockets. To achieve a good bond, use yellow dish detergent or baby shampoo to clean any talc or “anti-sticking” powder from the latex. Allow it to dry completely before applying adhesive. To achieve a best bond, apply solvent to clean latex just inside the markings of the high-stress area or accessory in order to scour the shiny surface, creating a more durable bonding surface.
Once you have assembled your latex garment, allow 24 hours for the pieces to completely bond. Before putting on your garment, look it over closely. Inspect the seams for any lifting or rolling indicating that the glue may not quite be dry, or the surface was not properly prepared. Gently roll these areas down, being careful not to press too hard, which could cause dimples in the seam surface. If an air bubble forms, gently pierce it in an inconspicuous spot with a sharp needle. Remove any excess glue by using a soft rag and solvent, being careful not to rub too vigorously.